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Keeping Pets Calm on Independence Day

By Colleen Williams
published: July 2, 2018 - updated: September 1, 2022 • 2 min. read
4th of july fireworks dog

While Independence Day is a time of great celebration for Americans, our cats and dogs might not be as happy about it; a table full of foods they can’t eat is a bummer, and big loud noises in the sky (and pops in the driveway) can be downright terrifying for our furry friends. While we can give them special treats to make up for the loss of unlimited hot dogs, we wanted to know what pet parents do to conquer anxiety induced by the fireworks displays. After polling our Facebook community, we discovered pet parents have it under control!

  • The Most Pupular Calming Methods:

Fifty-six percent of pet parents say they turn on music or the television to drown out the noise, while 54% snuggle so pets can feel safe. Thirty pe

Two dogs on pillows
Pet parent Michelle’s Privacy Pop tent.

rcent said they create a safe space with their pet’s favorite toys or treats close at hand, with one pet parent, Michelle, mentioned sharing her strategy: “I recently purchased the Privacy Pop…they make them for pets but I bought the single bed size so I could pop up the tent and snuggle with them. They love it!”

  • Dressed for Success:

Not surprisingly, dressing in a Thundershirt or similar wrap to help with anxiety was favored by about 21% of pet parents.

  • Snacks to Relax:

Give them treats with CBD oil, Rescue Remedy, or other soothing ingredients like St. John’s Wort, valerian, or melatonin. For many pet parents, they got the goods from their vet: tranquilizers and sedatives were a common response.

  • Get Outta Town:

By putting some distance between their pets and the noise of the July 4 holiday, the 4% of pet parents who go camping or leave to a part of town unaffected by firework noise are assured a quiet, happy pet.

  • Counterconditioning

One of our favorite illustrators, Lili Chen, has provided this great graphic about how to counter-condition your dog to fear fireworks less:
Conditioning fear of fireworks for dogs

  • Stay Inside and Let Them Hide:

Many pet parents stay indoors with their pets (never leave them outside alone!), close the curtains, keep the TV on, and act normal. One responder says, “My dogs runs to my closet so I make space for her to hide” while a Newfoundland feels safe in her pet parent’s shower.

independence day fireworks dog

Veterinarian and author of the upcoming book, The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, Dr. Gary Richter (MS, DVM) says, “The best way to deal with fireworks is avoidance. If it is possible to be somewhere where the noise is minimal, that would be best.” If that’s not possible, he suggests using natural anti-anxiety solutions such as CBD oil, lavender, valerian, or Rescue Remedy. “The key is to administer supplements well before the fireworks start. Once the pet is stressed or anxious, it’s much tougher to calm them down!” He also supports TV or music to drown out the noise, especially music like WholeTones or Through a Dog’s Ear.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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